ACCC inquiry into Eastern and Southern Australian whoesale gas prices (2015-2016)
Government directed inquiry pursuant to Part VIIA of the CCA
About this Review
On 13 April the ACCC was directed by the Government to commence a 12 month inquiry into the competitiveness of wholesale gas prices in Eastern and Southern Australia.
- See 'ACCC review of Eastern Australian wholesale gas market' (13 April 2015)
Joint Media Release by the Hon Bruce Billson MP, Minister for Small Business and the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, Minister for Industry and Science
- See ACCC Press Release (13 April 2015)
Scope of the Review
ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims, has stated that
The ACCC will be considering competition levels on the East Coast upstream gas market - the producer, processor, pipeline, and wholesale levels of the market. The inquiry does not cover retail
The letter from the (then) Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson, directed the ACCC to:
'hold a public inqiry into the competitiveness of wholesale gas prices and the structure of the upstream processing, transportation, storage and marketing segments of the gas industry pursuant to subsection 95H(1) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010'
The letter enclosed a notice under section 95H(1) of the CCA identifying matters to consider:
I, Bruce Billson, Minister for Small Business, pursuant to subsection 95H(1) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, hereby require the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to hold an inquiry into the competitiveness of wholesale gas prices and the structure of the upstream, processing, transportation, storage and marketing segments of the gas industry The inquiry may include but not be limited to Victoria, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania.
Matters to be taken into consideration in the inquiry shall include, but not be restricted to:
- the availability and competitiveness of offers to supply gas and the competitiveness and transparency of gas prices;
- the competitiveness of, access to, and any restrictions on market structures for gas production, gas processing and gas transportation;
- the significance of barriers to entry into the upstream production sector;
- the existence of, or potential for, anti-competitive behaviour and the impact of such behaviour on purchasers of gas; and
- transaction costs, information transparency including gas supply contractual terms and conditions, and other factors influencing the competitiveness of the markets.
This is not to be an inquiry in relation to supply by any particular person or persons. The inquiry should not consider competition in gas retail markets.
The inquiry is to be completed and a report submitted to me within 12 months of the receipt of this notice.
The ACCC released an Issues Paper on 4 June 2015 and called for public submissions.